Over 1.25 million Americans are infected with Hepatitis B. It is caused by a virus and often has no symptoms. Some people, however, experience yellowing of the skin (jaundice), tiredness, dark urine and gray colored stool or pain in the abdomen, muscles or joints. Even if you have no symptoms, Hepatitis B can be spread to others. You can get Hepatitis B from sexual activities, sharing needles, or coming in contact with infected blood or body fluid.
Long term, Hepatitis B causes severe liver damage and can lead to liver cancer. With Hepatitis B, your chance of contracting HIV/AIDS is higher. 15-25% of persons with Hepatitis B die as a result of the disease. 40-50% of children born to infected mothers develop liver cancer. If a woman has Hepatitis B while she is pregnant, she should tell her doctor right away. Her baby could be born with it. The baby will need special shots right after birth.